Praying the Way of the Cross in Yei, South Sudan. (Angela Hellmuth — JRS)
All: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, and wrapped him in the linen cloth. (Mark 15:39, 43-46)
As Christ is taken from the cross darkness settles upon the world, for the Son of God has been slain by the peoples' hands.
Today this darkness lives on as cycles of violence and oppression continue. And yet, even in the midst of darkness, JRS bears daily witness to God’s presence in vulnerable and forgotten people driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of their human rights. Amaya Valcarcel of JRS International writes:
"I spent a few days in Burundi… . Although brief, the visit shook me as I was faced with the stark reality of people’s capacity for the extremes of good and evil. Images of children wounded by machetes flash before my eyes followed by the recollection of others frantically drinking water after walking for days to reach a feeding center.
"But what really struck me was the strong determination to rise above the circumstances, however tragic they may be."
All: Our Father.